(PRESS RELEASE) – In view of the most recent regional and international developments relating to the outbreak of the corona virus in China, the St. Lucia Labour Party is concerned that the Allen Chastanet Government delayed its announcement on a policy with regard to travelers from China to Saint Lucia.
These developments are:
The World Health Organization (WHO) last Thursday declared the Corona virus outbreak as a global public. Health emergency
As of Monday 3rd February, 25 countries have been affected by the virus with the first death outside of China occurring in the Philippines when someone who came from China succumbed on 1st Feb.
A number of countries have therefore closed their borders with China have ceased airline flights to China and have imposed travel bans and restrictions on persons travelling from China. Singapore and Indonesia, who depend heavily on Chinese tourism, have suspended visa free travel from China. Papua New Guinea has shut its borders to all travelers from Asia.
In the region, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago have announced that all persons entering the country from China will be quarantined for 14 days while Antigua and Barbuda is not allowing entry from China. Jamaica has also placed a ban on travel to and from China.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party notes that Saint Lucian medical authorities have since made specific announcements and in addition restrictions on travel into Saint Lucia by travelers from mainland China were placed at 12am on Tuesday February 4, 2020.
The lack of leadership by the Minister for Health and the Prime Minister in this crisis is obvious and disturbing. Many of the Ministers for Health from our sister Caribbean islands were seen leading the advocacy on the deadly virus outbreak early as one week ago, the silence from our Minister was deafening.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party calls on the government to respond to the following:
1. Is there any truth to speculation that Chinese nationals, some of whom are connected to the DSH were allowed to land in Saint Lucia deliberately before the announcement of restrictions by government?
2. Will the government take immediate measures to assess these nationals who may have returned from infected countries even if they came before the date of the restrictions?
The Saint Lucia Labour Party advises all Saint Lucians to follow the advice of our medical professionals and remain vigilant. We further call on the Government to implement fully, regional decisions on this deadly Corona virus outbreak.